Asian American Celebs Hail Chloé Zhao As She Makes History With Best Director Oscar Win

Chloé Zhao won the best director Oscar for the film Nomadland at the 93rd Academy Awards on Sunday night, making history in the process.

Zhao became the second woman to win the best director award in Oscar history, as well as the first-ever woman of color and Asian woman to take the prize.

A slew of Hollywood's most famous Asian American celebrities immediately took to social media to applaud her accomplishment.

Actress Sandra Oh, star of Grey's Anatomy (2005–2014) and Killing Eve (2018–present), congratulated the Beijing-born director.


Lulu Wang, who directed and wrote the screenplay for 2019's The Farewell, said Zhao "nailed it."


Pakistani American actor Kumail Nanjiani, star of The Big Sick, simply tweeted: "CHLOE!"

CHLOE!

— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) April 26, 2021

Activist and Star Trek actor George Takei also congratulated Zhao and highlighted the significance of her win during a period of rising Asian hate crimes in America.

"Congratulations to Chloé Zhao. In this time of division and rising anti-Asian hate, it is of no small importance that an Asian woman director has held a mirror up to America, and done so with such grace, craft, and unvarnished honesty that she won the Oscar for it. Bravo," he tweeted.


Alex Shibutani, a Japanese American ice dancer, applauded Zhao.

"Chloé Zhao!!! First woman of color to win Best Director (also only the second woman to win)," he tweeted.


Comedian Jenny Yang wrote a typically humorous message.

THE THREE CHARACTER CLASSICAL CHINESE POEM?!?!??#CHLOEZHAO REALLY OUT HERE TELLING THEM HOW WE WERE RAISED MY ASS THOUGHT MEMORIZING WAS A FUN GAME W MAMA lmaaooooooo#Oscars

— Jenny Yang (@jennyyangtv) April 26, 2021

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who's currently pursuing a run for mayor of New York City, noted the historic occasion.


Nomadland follows a character played by Frances McDormand as she roams through the American West in her van after the death of her husband. Based on a 2017 non-fiction novel by Jessica Bruder, the film is the third feature from Zhao, who previously directed 2015's Songs My Brothers Taught Me and 2017's The Rider.

The only other woman who has won the Academy Award for directing was Kathryn Bigelow, who was awarded the accolade in 2010 for The Hurt Locker.

History was already made in the directing category just by this year's nominations. For the first time, more than one woman was nominated for best director in a single year.

Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) was also nominated, along with male contenders Lee Isaac Chung (Minari), Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round) and David Fincher (Mank).

Zhao is currently at work on her first big budget Marvel film, Eternals.

Based on the Marvel race of the same name, Eternals features Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, Kit Harrington, and Gemma Chan.

Eternals is currently scheduled to arrive in U.S. theaters on November 5, 2021.

Later in the awards ceremony, Nomadland won best picture, taking home the biggest prize for a film. It had previously been named the best dramatic film at the Golden Globes.

Chloe Zhao
Chloé Zhao at the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony. Getty